Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding
Date and Time:
Dec 7 2021 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Note: Event start time is Central Time (CT).


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Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, and the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, Harvard University

Gretchen Reynolds

"Phys Ed" columnist for The New York Times

Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding

Advice | Aging | Exercise | Health | Physiology | Science | Sports | Well Being

BONUS AFTER-HOURS EVENT: Attendees who purchase a copy of Exercised from FAN’s partner bookseller The Book Stall are invited to attend an AFTER-HOURS event hosted by Lieberman that will start immediately after the webinar. Details on the webinar registration page.

If exercise is healthy why do so many people dislike it? If we are born to walk and run, why do most of us take it easy whenever possible? And how do we make sense of all the conflicting, confusing, anxiety-provoking information about rest, physical activity and exercise? Is sitting really the new smoking? Can you lose weight by walking? Does running ruin your knees? Should we do weights, cardio, or high intensity training?

In his myth-busting book Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding, Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D., professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a pioneering researcher on the evolution of human physical activity, tells the story of how we never evolved to exercise—to do voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. Using his own research and experiences throughout the world, Prof. Lieberman recounts (without jargon) how and why humans evolved to walk, run, dig, and do other necessary and rewarding physical activities while avoiding needless exertion.

Exercised is entertaining and enlightening but also constructive. As our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, Prof. Lieberman audaciously argues that to become more active we need to do more than medicalize and commodify exercise. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, he suggests how we can make exercise more enjoyable, rather than shaming and blaming people for avoiding it. He also tackles the question of whether you can exercise too much, even as he explains why exercise can reduce our vulnerability to the diseases mostly likely to make us sick and kill us.

Prof. Lieberman will be in conversation with Gretchen Reynolds, “Phys Ed” columnist for The New York Times and author of the New York Times bestseller The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer. Ms. Reynolds writes for a variety of other publications, including The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Men’s Journal, Outside, Parade, Popular Science and others.

This event suitable for youth 12+. It will be recorded and available on our website and YouTube channel.